Principle of Knowledge
[on Journalism, Knowledge, & Freedom]

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

Writer & narrator (Part 1): Sarah Emily Jordan
Writer & narrator (Part 2): Edward R. Murrow

Twirling Leaf: 2009

color and black & white; 8 minutes December 2012

Journalism: Knowledge: Freedom

Principle of Knowledge is a video narrative on journalistic integrity and its importance. Sarah Emily Jordan presents an eight-minute reel of two parts, of which the first is her overview of knowledge as a principle of freedom. For even the most ruthless of autocrats, or the most stifling of governing systems, cannot rule without a cocoon of ignorance protecting them from free minds acquiring knowledge and acting in concert. Jordan talks about journalistic integrity with Edward R. Murrow (1908 – 1965) as exemplar, versus Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908 – 1957) as a practitioner of what I might charitably call snatching confusion from the jaws of clarity. Jordan goes on to the Constitution and contemporary media, the First Amendment and political agendas. She mentions the journalistic targeting of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement as examples of journalistic failure — again, I express it charitably.

The second part of the reel is a clip of the conclusion from Edward R. Murrow's television program See It Now of 9 March 1954, speaking on McCarthy and the overarching context of truth and responsibility. A nice choice, well worth remembering in times which are mortally troubled in other ways than were the 1950s.

Sarah Emily Jordan's presentation is straightforward, her tidbits of history building into a sincere appeal for truth in the presentation of news. We used to have truer news in America, and knew more about freedom.



© 2012 Robert Wilfred Franson

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